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Editorial: UNM scientists, physician making strides in health

Two more examples of good things coming out of the state’s flagship research university made news this week.

A research team headed by University of New Mexico Professor Bryce Chackerian developed a “bad cholesterol” vaccine that eventually may offer a more affordable treatment for reducing heart disease. Other researchers included Erin Crossey and Julianne Peabody of UNM’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Biology and four from the National Institutes of Health.

The vaccine has already shown it can significantly reduce low-density lipoprotein (or bad) cholesterol levels in animals – by about 50 percent. It prompts the body’s immune system to attack a protein that prevents cells from absorbing LDL cholesterol that can collect in the walls of blood vessels and can increase the risk of heart disease. A study of their work will be published this week in the journal Vaccine.

Meanwhile, UNM Health Sciences Center physician Dr. Arthur Kaufman has been named to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine in recognition of his work to increase access in rural areas to primary care.

Kaufman, who is the UNM School of Medicine’s vice chancellor for community health and a distinguished professor of family and community medicine, contributed to the creation of a section of the Affordable Care Act aimed at increasing primary care access in rural areas.

Kudos to these UNM scientists and researchers who are committed to improving health.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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